Using red as his primary colour palette, Witvliet has created expansive paintings that evoke the mythological, the historical or some possible future.
This new body of work is a continuation of my Wayfarer and Sighting series in which I explore what dislocation and the adaptation of a nomadic existence might look like and/or feel like as subject, viewer or participant. Through the manipulation and creation of ‘could be landscapes’ filled with referential (symbolic) objects, we are lead through what could be described as the memory of history – history not in the past tense but rather as a promise – one kept, broken or projected into an unknown future.
As subject/viewer/participant we are invited to contemplate the landscape, the arrangements, the purpose and the connections between images. The landscapes might seem familiar, as if we have wandered through them before. Alternately a sense of recognition might arise through another connection such as a film, a visualization from book, or a childhood memory.
The paintings are intended to leave us hanging – like the feeling one gets when thinking that something else or something different could or should have been said, or wishing that you had taken another route or been more receptive to another.
Are we mere spectators or fully involved in all that plays out around us – part of the party or standing uninvited at the door? In All Tomorrow’s Parties there is a sense of loss – the viewer/participant is late and the party is over. And then the promise made to the spectator to become a participant shifts once more back to that nomadic existence. Grasping at straws and moving on.
My paintings are informed by the day to day flow of observation, reaction, politics, interpersonal relations, desires, conflict and reflection, exposure to a barrage of imagery, ideas and news, passions and refusal to accept while linking multiple pasts into the contemporary. In response, I stubbornly embrace that which could be called the Poetic.
It is through my practice that I hope to stumble across a different way to make a connection with reality, to go beyond the immediacy of the first meeting and explore the realm that opens up when focusing more intently and repeatedly on a contemporary encounter. Linking these encounters to history, uncertainty of memory, notions of truth, power, dominance and manipulation in an attempt to get to the beyond of what we can describe, speak of or can define, form the integral parts of my research and practice. The whispering areas where the paint dissolves into something else, the silence in between the lines, the images at the periphery always escape our focus and a certain unease permeates this work.
Jeroen is an artist born in the Netherlands. He has received his BFA from the Willem de Kooning Academie, Rotterdam, and studied at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Jeroen received his MFA from the University of Victoria, BC in 2014. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions at artist run, commercial and public galleries in Europe and North America.